« AnteriorContinuar »
The same. Another room in the palace.
Enter Henry Prince of Wales, and Falstaff.
Fal. Now, Hal, what time of day is it, lad ?
P. Hen. Thou art so fat-witted, wi drinking of old sack, and unbuttoning thee after supper, and sleeping upon benches after noon, that thou hast for. gotten to demand that truly wbich thou would'st truly know. What a devil hast thou to do with the time of the day? unless hours were cups of sack, and minules capons, and clocks the longues of bawds, and dials the signs of leaping houses, and the blessed sun himself a fair hot wench in flame.co. lour'd taffata; I see no reason, why thou should'st be so superfluous to demand the time of the day.
Fal. Indeed, you come near me, now, Hal; for we, that take purses, go by the moon and seven stars ; and not by Phæbus,--he, that wandering knight so fair. Apd, I pray thee, sweet wag, when thou art king, -as, God save thy grace (majesty, I should say; for grace thou wilt have none),
P. Hen. What, none ?
Fal. No, by my troth; not so much as will serve to be prologue to an egg and butter.
P. Hen. Well, how then? come, roundly, roundly.
Ful. Marry, then, sweet wag, when thou art king, let not us, that are squires of the night's body, be called thieves of the day's beauty; let us beDiana's foresters, gentlemen of the shade, minions* of the moon: And let men say, we be men of good government: being governed as the sea is, by our
noble and chaste mistress the moon, under whose countenance we-steal.
P. Hen. Thou say'st well; and it holds well too : for the fortune of us, that are the moon's men, doth ebb and flow like the sea; being governed as the sea is, by the moon. As, for proof, now: A purse of gold most resolutely snatched on Monday night, and most dissolutely spent on Tuesday morning; got with sweariug-ay by*; and spent with crying -bring int: now, in as low an ebb as the foot of the ladder; and, by and by, in as high a flow as the ridge of the gallows.
Fal. By the Lord, thou say'st true, lad. And is not my hostess of the tavern a most sweet weuch?
P. Hen. As the honey of Hybla, my old lad of the castle. And is not a buff jerkin a most sweet robe of durancet?
Fal. How now, liow now, mad wag? what, in thy quips, and thy quiddities? what a plague have I to do with a buff jerkin?
P. Hen. Why, what a pox have I to do with my hostess of the tavern?
Fal. Well, thou hast called her to a reckoning, many a time and oft.
P. Hen. Did I ever call for thee to pay thy part?
Fal. No; I'll give thee thy due, thou hast paid all there.
P. Hen. Yea, and elsewhere, so far as my coin would stretch; and, where it would not, I have used my credit.
Fal. Yea, and so used it, that were it not here apparent that thou art heir apparent,-But, I pr'ythee, sweet wag, shall there be gallows standing in England when thou art king? and resolution thus fobbed as it is, with the rusty curb of old father antick the law? Do not thou, when thou art king, hang a thief.
Stand still. + More wine.
P. Hen. No; thou shalt.
Fal. Shall I? O rare! By the Lord, I'll be a brave judge.
P. Hen. Thou judgest false already; I mean, thou shalt have the hanging of the thieves, and so become a rare hangman.
Fal. Well, Hal, well; and in some sort it jumps with my humour, as well as waiting in the court, I can tell you.
P. Hen. For obtaining of suits ?
Ful. Yea, for obtaining of suits: whereof the hangman hath no lean wardrobe. 'Sblood, I am as melancholy as a gib* cat, or a lugged bear.
P. Hen. Or an old lion; or a lover's lute.
Fal. Yea, or the drone of a Lincolnshire bag. pipe t.
P. Hen. What sayest thou to a hare, or the mee lancholy of Moor-ditch ?
Fal. Thou hast the most unsavoury similes; and art, indeed, the most comparative, rascalliest,-sweet young prince, But, Hal, I prythee, trouble me no more with vanity. I would to God, thou and I knew where a commodity of good names were to be bought: An old lord of the council rated me the. other day in the street about you, sir; but I marked him not: and yet he talked very wisely; but I regarded him not: and yet he talked wisely, and in the street too.
P. Hen. Thou did'st well; for wisdom cries out in the streets, and no man regards it.
Fal. O thou hast damnable iterations: and art, indeed, able to corrupt a saint. Thou hast dono much harm upon me, Hal,-God forgive thee for it! Before I knew thee, Hal, I knew nothing; and now am I, if a man should speak truly, little better than one of the wicked. I must give over this life, and I
• Gib cat, should be lib cat,-a Scotch term at this day for a gelded cat.
+ Croak of a frog. Citation of holy texts. VOL. IV.
will give it over; by the Lord, an I do not, I am a villain; I'll be damned for never a king's son in Christendom.
P. Hen. Where shall we take a purse to-morrow, Jack?
Fal. Where thou wilt, lad, I'll make one; an I do not, call me villain, and baffle* me.
P. Hen. I see a good amendment of life in thee; from praying, to purse-taking.
Enter Poins, at a distance. Fal. Why, Hal, 'tis my vocation, Hal; 'tis no sin for a man to labour in his vocation. Poins!--Now shall we know if Gadshill have set a match t. O, if men were to be saved by merit, what hole in hell were hot enough for him? This is the most omnia potent villain, that ever cried, Stand, to a truet man.
P. Hen. Good morrow, Ned.
Poins. Good morrow, sweet Hal.--What says monsieur Remorse? What says Sir John Sack-andSugar ? Jack, how agrees the devil and thee about thy soul, that thou soldest him on Good-friday last, for a cup of Madeira, and a cold capou's leg?
P. Hen. Sir John stands to his word, the devil shall have his bargain; for he was never yet a breaker of proverbs, he will give the devil his due.
Poins. Then art thou damned for keeping thy word with the devil.
P. Hen. Else he had been damned for cozening the devil.
Poins. But, my lads, my lads, to-morrow morn. ing, by four o'clock, early at Gadshill: There are pilgrims going to Canterbury with rich offerings, and traders riding to London with fat purses: I have visors g for you all, you have horses for yourselves; Gadshill lies to-night in Rochester ; I have bespoke
+ Treat me with ignominy.
supper to-morrow night in Eastcheap; we may do it as secure as sleep: If you will go, I will stuff your purses full of crowds; if you will not, tarry at home, and be hanged.
Fal. Hear me, Yedward; if I tarry at home, and go not, I'll hang you for going.
Poins. You will, chops ?
Fal. There's neither honesty, manhood, nor good fellowship in thee, nor thou camest not of the blood royal, if thou darest not stand for ten shillings*.
P. Hen. Well, then, once in my days I'll be a mad. cap.
Fal. Why, that's well said.
Fal. By the Lord, I'll be a traitor then, when thou art king.
P. Hen. I care not.
Poins. Sir John, I pr’ythee, leave the prince and me alove; I will lay him down such reasons for this adventure, that he shall go.
Ful. Well, may'st thou have the spirit of per. suasion, and he the ears of profiting, that what thou speakest may move, and what he hears may be be. lieved, that the true prince may (for recreation sake) prove a false thief; for the poor abuses of the time want countenance. Farewell: You shall find me in Eastcheap.
P. Hen. Farewell, thou latter spring! Farewell All-hallown summert !
[Exit Falstaff. Poins. Now, my good sweet honey lord, ride with us to-morrow; I have a jest to execute, that I cannot manage alone. Falstaff, Bardolph, Peto, and Gadshill, shall rob those men that we have already way-laid; yourself, and I, will not be there: and
• The value of a coin called real or royal.
+ Fine weather at All-hallown-tide (i. e. All Saiots, Nov. 18t) is called a All-hallows summer.